lipscomb confidence flies

lipscomb confidence fliesGuest Blogger: Tom Lipscomb

So I am by no stretch of the imagination a minimalist. I know people who attempt the Appalachian or Pacific Crest Trail with one sock (not one pair… one sock). Their clothes, food, sleeping bag and shelter for a month tend to be lighter than what I put in my vest for quick trip to the stream…

With that said I am a big believer in Confidence Flies.

Now the reality is, I’ve been tying for a really long time (I have dubbing that is old enough to have grandchildren). With more than a few decades of tying history, I have amassed what can be considered a considerable variety of flies…

To get a sense for this, pick up your average fly-fishing catalogue that sells those “Store Bought” flies, and open to the “Fly Section”.   Pick three sizes and three colors of everything there, make 4 of each and multiply by two (for gold vs. copper vs. black bead heads) and you have some idea how many boxes of flies could be found somewhere in my house.

On the stream however… there are less than a dozen flies that spend 90% of the time in or on the water. Now this is good and bad. The good thing is they are called confidence flies for a reason… The bad thing is, the sense of exploration that is inherent in my love of streams and fly-fishing shouldn’t stop just short of the end of my tippet.

Solution: Last year I decided to “add” two confidence flies to the list. To do this you need to pick a couple of hopefuls and consider them as candidates for the 6th man on a basketball team. They need to get some court time if you’re ever going to have real faith in them.

Best thing is it’s actually fun and as it turns out in 2014, it was rewarding. So the Dark Lady may never make your list (or anyone’s but mine), but when the going get’s tough, the Lady starts drifting.

Never give up on the tried and true favorites (I’ll tie up 100 at a time)… but make sure to check out the rookies and give them some “playing time”. You’ll be glad you did!

1 Comment

  1. Great article Tom! Funny, and a very good point about the sense of exploration and discovery. Nothing like trying something new to give one’s well established wisdom (not to mention enjoyment) an extra little nudge in one direction or another.

    My go-to fly list is pretty small too; normally an attempt to stretch it meets with a “well dang it, that was a bit of a bust” …but now and then some kind of unusual tie steps up and earns a raised eyebrow. When I go over my old log notes of a given month on a give stream prior to an outing, I notice that each year the “try these next time in February” or “tie this on if it’s sunny and windy” list is a little different than for years prior.

    You can turn a phrase, too; I was chuckling through the whole thing. 🙂

    – Mike

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